Sunday, September 30, 2012

Garage Sale - scheduled!

For the very first time ever, I'm having a garage sale.  I've only participated in garage sales before.  I've made about $50 in some sales, but I've never had enough stuff to have my own sale.  I've only ever had things like Barbies and some clothes to sell.

And then Jeff moved in.

When you combine two households, you end up with A LOT of stuff.  Two couches.  Two vacuums.  Two irons.  Two table & chair sets.  Five sets of dishes.  In general, A LOT of stuff.

So you get a storage unit.  And you spend too much on that storage unit every month for two and half years.  And then you do the math and realize you've probably spent almost $3000 on storage, and you decide it's time to sell some stuff.

That's where we are now.

So, this Saturday we are having a garage sale from 7A-2P.  Need stuff?  Come on by.  I'm just nervous trying to figure out timing.  You know, timing of putting out signs and setting stuff up and I told Jeff that he wouldn't have to do much for this garage sale because he wasn't interested in having one in the first place.

In a week I'll let you know if the garage sale was a success.

Monday, September 24, 2012

What do you see on your commute?

This was on mine the other day...

I have now officially seen trains, planes, and automobiles on the interstate!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Create-A-Craft: A Headband for Homecoming

Did you see the pictures of Rhy all dressed up for the Homecoming Dance?  Didn't she look great?  And how about that pink with black lace mardi gras mask headband that matched her dress?  Didja see it?  huh?  huh?

Well, I assume you did, otherwise why would you be here for...

...create-a-craft:  a headband for homecoming!

We bought quite a few supplies:
And, yes, we did use all those items!  Spray glitter, glow-in-the-dark paint, pink paint, silver metallic paint, mod podge, black lace, the mask, paint brushes, and a feather accent.  And, yes, we did bring her dress into the store to try to match colors.

First was figuring out a mix of paints for the mask.  We tried to mix the silver metallic paint with the pink, but that just turned it purple (but metallic, which was cool!).  In the end, we used straight pink paint...
...which we then covered in the glow-in-the-dark paint (which really lightened the color - sad) and spray glitter.
And we stopped for a snack.   Mmm, apples....

What's next?  Well, to cover the mask in black lace, of course!  For this we used
parchment paper - yes, from the kitchen - as a base to protect the table as we

paint the mod podge onto the lace.  That stuff can make a mess.

Here's a bit of advice:  This is when you want to take the time to try to really glue the edges down to the mask.  Rhy's mask had rounded or beveled edges.  I thought I would more easily be able to glue those down once I cut off the excess lace
stupid night-time photography and its bad quality!
but the lace was so stiff from the glue that was already on it, it just wasn't cooperating.  It's not too noticeable  especially since it's for her hair, not her face, but still.  Hindsight and all.

We had 2 black headbands that we could chose from - nice to use what we already have! - so I selected the narrower of the two to attach the mask.
I used super glue to attach the mask, and used the large binder clips to hold it overnight just to make sure it was good and stuck down.  We had discussed the headband behind the eye holes, but knew with it being in her hair, it wouldn't be that noticeable. 

Finally - the last step!  Attaching the feather accent!  Rhy took advantage of the curve of the feather and the curve of the eye hole to determine placement.  Again, super glue was used to attach.

The final result...

This was definitely a Create-A-Craft WIN.  This reminds me that you don't have to settle for what's in the store.  You can make something that you imagine.  You can make what to want to match a theme and a dress.  And, you can make it glow in the dark.  :-)


For a few days a year...

...this is what I see in the morning when headed in to work.

I makes it hard to pay attention to the road when there is so much awesome to behold...

Saturday, September 22, 2012


Tonight is the Homecoming Dance.  Rhy's been so busy this week, with Volleyball Wars, football practice, the game, the bake sale & tailgate party.  I've been exhausted just hearing what all she's been busy with this week!

She's with a group of friends for the game, and this year we got the call to come over and take pictures.  Yeay!  I remember those days, posing in front of the fireplace for pictures (or wherever in your house you always took pictures...).  I finally got my chance to take those pictures.

As always, she looked beautiful.  Her friends and their parents were really nice too.  The kids all seemed to be having fun with the pictures.

The theme for this year's Homecoming is "Mardi Gras:  Take off your Mask and Party".  Check out Rhy's headband...  Always fitting the theme...

Stay tuned for tomorrow - find out how we made the mardi gras mask headband!

The unlikeliest of hats...

Have you ever seen a peacock wreath at the store and thought, "Hey, this would make a great hat!"

Me neither.  Maybe that's why kids have so much more fun than grown-ups...

Friday, September 21, 2012

Rhy - Defensive Tackle!

Last night we traveled to DeForest (you know, what you go through when to Grandmother's house you go...) for a football game.  It really wasn't too cold, but it was just breezy enough that I was chilly.  Perhaps I should have worn more than a tank top and Packer's sweatshirt?  Hm.  I'll consider dressing more appropriately next time.

Unfortunately, we did not win.  It's hard to win a football game when you're playing against the other team and the refs.


Rhy made her High School Football debut!  Yeay Rhy!

She was named one of the captains this week, and she played the end of the game!  Last week they only played the starters, so I'm very excited that they put her in this week.  I think that her normal position is offensive lineman (Jeff - correct me if I'm wrong here), but she played Defensive Tackle.  Yeay!

When they put her in the other parents around us were like "They're putting her in!  Rhy's going in!"  So I jumped up and went to take pictures!  It was kinda hard under the lights to really keep everything straight, but here she is...

do you see the other team's female player to the far left with the ball?  apparently she's a junior playing down.

Go Vikings!  And keep kicking butt Rhy!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Are you ready for some football?

Rhy is playing football this year.  She played in 8th grade at her school in Iowa, was the Freshman Manager up here last year, and decided she'd rather play than manage this year.

Unfortunately she rolled her ankle in practice about a week before the first game, so she was out for the first three games, in her jersey but not dressed for the games.  Thursday she was finally able to dress for the game!

Rhy is #53
The game was against Monona Grove, a bigger school, and they proved to be tough opponents.  The game was already in the 2nd quarter when we arrived (after finding a flat tire and dealing with all that), but the Vikings were already ahead!

The Vikings led the entire game, but it was close, and the other team could have quickly gotten points to tie or win the game.  In fact, the very last play on the clock was a couple of Vikings tackling their ball carrier when he was within 5 yards of a touchdown!  Man, was it a close one!

Final score:  8-0

It was such a tough game, they only played first string.  Finger crossed that next week she'll get some playing time!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

University names and nicknames...

Oh good.  Another football game.

Jeff's watching the Badgers play the Aggies from Utah.  Which begs the questions...

1.)  If the University of Wisconsin is called UW for short, then would the University of Utah be called UU?  And would that be pronounced "you you" or "double you", or "dubs" for short?

2.)  What in the world is an "Aggie"?!?  Seriously people!  Jeff says that's short for "agriculture" - WTF people!  What kind of a mascot would you have?  A photograph of a farm?  Makes Millikin being the Big Blue sound genius!

I love this picture!

Last year for my sister's birthday I made a photobook and boy, did I scan a TON of pictures and slides in order to do that!  I even went to her house when she was at work and scanned some pictures she had.  Including this one:

Tina was 10 when we went to Washington DC for vacation (the first time), and she had her own camera!  I didn't realize until I was going through her pictures from that vacation what pictures she had of me.  I remembered most of the pictures Mom & Dad took, but this one was a surprise.  Obviously we weren't ready for the picture, and Mom must be telling me something.  It's just so cute - a little moment.  And who could resist Mom's Q-Tip hat?  I love this picture!

Friday, September 14, 2012

My Brooch Bouquet - If I had known then what I know now...

I'm not sure where or when I first saw a brooch bouquet - somewhere on the interwebs, I'm sure - but I know that I *loved* it and I said "I can make that!"

From there I read a few different tutorials on how to go about doing so.  There are a bunch of different tutorials out there, all similar, and pretty much start with the direction of "Gather 75-100 brooches or pins", but you can go ask Google how to make one.  I'm not going to give instructions, just a few pieces of wisdom.  Wisdom?  Is it really profound enough to be wisdom?  How's this, I'm going to give you a few pieces of knowledge from building my brooch bouquet.

I started with the best part - shopping!  Yeay!  Shopping!  I hit up some thrift stores with good results.  I found some inexpensive rings in the dollar bin at Michael's.  But then I found ebay.  And I proceeded to spend entirely too much money.   Which leads me to...

#1 = Brooch bouquets are not necessarily inexpensive.

You might think, oh, I'll spend $50 on brooches, and $5 on wire, and $5 on fabric, and viola!  A brooch bouquet!  Not so fast, mister...  When you're buying on ebay, you can't touch what you're buying.  If you don't pay any attention to dimensions, if the description gives them, you might think you're buying 3 butterfly brooches that are good sized, not 1/2 inch wide.  You might love the pictures, and then when you get the lot of jewelry, can only use a few of the pieces you purchased.  I spent too much time and too much money buying brooches on ebay.  So...

#2 = Be very very careful when purchasing brooches from ebay.

They know you're coming.  The sellers are aware that brooch bouquets are a thing that that savvy brides are trying to make their own instead of spending hundreds upon hundreds of dollars buying them on etsy.  They know how to photograph well in good light, and they use exclamation points!    And then you buy them!  Oh, how I got swept up in all the nice photographs...

Fast forward to the last weeks following up to the wedding.  I FINALLY decided how to make the corsages and boutonnieres.  Finally.  And I needed some brooches for the center of the corsages.  In one of the many visits to the 3 craft stores I frequented during wedding crafting, I found something.  Do you know what they have at the craft store?  A jewelry making aisle!  And do you know what they have in the jewelry making aisle?  Items that would work perfectly wonderful to make brooch bouquets!  Don't forget to...

#3 = Shop the craft store for your jewelry pieces!

Many very nice items were on sale, or clearance!  And many craft stores have great coupons for 40% off one item!  Oh man, to be able to buy all the necessary pieces with a stop at each of the 3 major craft stores in the area!  I go weak in the knees just thinking about it!  *swoon*

Now, I always new I would carry a blue bouquet.  It was a given - blue is my favorite color.  My sister Tina was my attendant, and her dress was brown (and she looked wonderful btw!), so I figured we would stick with gold jewelry.  Accumulating items for my bouquet was coming along great, but Tina's was giving me a hard time.  When I finally stopped worrying about her bouquet being made with gold jewelry, it was much easier.  Instead of focusing on gold, I noticed I had a lot of pink items that would so NOT go in my blue bouquet.  I would suggest that you ...

#4 = Be willing to move from your initial vision of your bouquet if you find a different combo works better.

I asked a lo-ot of people their opinion on the items I picked for Tina's bouquet.  If I had just made a decision, it would have saved a lot of time.  Who would have known the difference?

I wanted a blue collar and handle for my bouquet.  Tina came up to my place to help craft wedding stuff for a weekend (well, more than one, but this one in particular for this story), and brought her sewing machine thankyouverymuch, and we selected some beautiful blue crepe.  Gorgeous.  Draped beautifully.  And then we proceeded to spend entirely too much time trying to make it work for a bouquet collar.  It just hung down.  Blah.  It didn't stay up, like the collar on Tina's bouquet, which had been made with material from my dress.  Had we moved on more quickly, we would have saved a lot of time and stress.  So do yourself a favor and...

#5 = Use stiffer material for your bouquet collar, if you so choose to have one.

We ended up using the blue, but inside an off-white collar, just like the one on Tina's bouquet.  And it was lovely, if I do say so myself.

By the time the bouquets were made, there was a lot of left over jewelry.  I sold what I could on ebay, but not for nearly the prices I had originally paid - after all, I used the best pieces.  I just didn't use as many pieces as those tutorials had me believing I needed.  Seriously...

#6 = You may not need that many brooches.

Most of the tutorials say you will need 75 brooches.  Holy cats!  Are you kidding me?  My bouquet was heavy enough, and it had somewhere around 30-40 brooches/earrings/etc!  Tina's bouquet took about 15 pieces.  Obviously your style of bouquet will determine how many you need.  Just don't over-buy before you make your first attempt at a bouquet.  You may be pleasantly surprised.  Once you're done, you can just...

#7 = Enjoy it.

Mine is displayed on one of the few shelves in the house, above the TV.  I can see it whenever I want.  Hmmm, I guess I should probably dust it or something...

really, isn't it pretty?

Eric Lockstein took our wedding photos

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Today is Kiaj's B-Day

My eldest step-daughter is 19 today.  She finished high school a trimester early, has been taking college courses for a year, has held at least one job for years now, and is on her own in an apartment with her significant other.

Kiaj has grown up so much since I met her as a 16 year old almost 3 years ago.  She's matured more than three years in that time and I'm proud of her.  We don't see her much since we don't live close, so I wish I could know her better.  She is really pretty cool.

I will say, my husband has some pretty terrific daughters!  He probably can't even put into words how proud he is of them.

Happy Birthday Kiaj!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The photo book I've been working on.

I had posted before about the deal with Shutterfly to get a free photobook.  I spent some time (maybe 6 hours or so?) and made what I would call a yearbook for 2010.  We did a lot of things, but only one (the trip to DC) warranted its own photobook.  So what do you do with pictures from all the other weekends?  From the games and the cookouts and the get-togethers?  Make a yearbook...

Turn your favorite photos into a photo book at

FYI - it ended up costing me about $16.  Have to pay for shipping, and the deal was to get $30 off the cost of a book that cost at least $30...  Oh well, better price than if it was full price, and I've been wanting to do this for a while!

And I still need to make a photo book of our Alaskan Honeymoon...

Friday, September 7, 2012

Good deal! Free photo book on Shutterfly!

Just a quickie to let you know about an e-mail I got Thursday from Shutterfly.  Basically, you either get a free $29.99 value photo book, or $29.99 off of a photo book if it costs more.  Sounds like a good deal to me!  It expires on Wednesday, so I'll be making a book over the weekend.  Not of our trip to Alaska, but of all the different things we did in 2010.  I think I might start making "yearbooks" for events that don't themselves warrant their own book.  Like going ice skating with Rylee or going hiking at Matthiessen State Park.  Enough for a couple pages, but not a whole book.

Hey, let me know if you make a photobook!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Why I'm glad we had a receiving line...

Originally I didn't want to do a receiving line at the wedding.  The only receiving line I'd ever participated in was at Grama's visitation, and I just hated it.  There were all these people and I had to awkwardly figure out what small talk to say.  Ugh.  What do you say to people?  Why is there so much hugging?  Plus, I'm horrible with names when I'm put on the spot!  And I'm just not that much of a smiler...

I was also worried about timing (my mom can really be a talker ) and thought that a receiving line would be a waste of photographer time.

But Jeff thought it would be nice to have a receiving line.  And he didn't have a big list of Must Haves for the wedding, other than marrying me (awww!), so Receiving Line it is.

I even tried to come up with alternatives to the normal Following The Ceremony receiving line.  "Hey, see the new couple as you get in line for the buffet!"  But, no, if we were doing a receiving line, the best option was the norm.

We also decided that the receiving line would be just us, the happy couple, which allowed our parents and the girls to just mingle.

And you know what?  I am really glad we did the receiving line.  Like, VERY glad!

Some of our guests were able to stay only for the wedding.  If we hadn't had the receiving line, I would not have had the chance to talk to them.  *Jeff, on the other hand, got to mingle before the ceremony.*

For some, it was the one time where I felt I was able to focus solely on that individual, even for just 5 seconds.  Surrounded by dozens of people, it was a really intimate time, even though on the outside I'm sure it looked like chaos.

I wouldn't give up that 15 or 20 minutes of time during our wedding day for anything.

all photos by Eric Lockstein

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Cool way to separate an egg

I just read this article on that I had to share...

Click here to read the article and watch the video...

You use an empty water bottle.  Looks awesome.  If I ever have a need to separate an egg, I'll try it out for you and let you know if it works.  If you've ever done it, let me know in the comments how it worked for you.

Happy Saturday!

Happy Birthday to my sister!

Today is the anniversary of the day my sister was born.  Mom was over on the east coast, Grama was there with her, and Dad was off in the Mediterranean in the Navy.

4 months old

gotta love a baby in a canning pot...

Tina looks very skeptical of your actions...  and check out how awesome Mom's hair is!
I'm glad my sister was born, because, you know, I love her and all.

watching cartoons on a Saturday morning.  (and check out all the amazing things on the shelves!)

She's (mostly) been a really good sister to have.  Probably the times she wasn't a good sister to have were the times that I wasn't getting my way, though.  Of course, and I readily admit this, sometimes I made it hard to be a good big sister to.  Like when she would have friends over and I would want to hang out with them and I would be very persistent trying to gain entry into her bedroom.  I even used sweet treats as a bribe, but to no avail...

But for the most part we get along really well, even though we are almost 6 years apart and for many siblings that enough to keep them from being close.

gotta love Marcos's photobomb in this one!
I think I was supposed to be a bum (you like my beard?),
and I was always jealous that Tina had gotten a store bought costume.
So today, my beautiful sister, my friend, I wish you a Happy Birthday!  Are you going to the Fair for your Birthday?

Love you!